Like early-morning bike rides, like rosaries, reading aloud to my children seems like a chore until I've been at it for a few minutes. After that I wonder why I don't do it more often.
So I schedule "reading aloud" into the school day. And it's the first thing we do each morning, a boy cuddled on either side of me while the baby nurses, a cup of coffee or tea on the side table. I have a target for each day (Wednesdays, twenty minutes; Tuesdays, seventy minutes) and a list of readings I want to accomplish each week (one or two chapters from this book, six or seven pages from that one) as well as a stack of library books, picture books, and "chapter books" that we dip into as the spirit moves us.
Wednesday morning Oscar (6) was up early and Milo (3) slept late, and I thought of trying to work closely with Oscar on math when Milo is tugging at my clothes, and said: "Let's do math first, while Milo is asleep. We can do reading aloud after he wakes up later." Oscar protested, but I insisted. I should be flexible, taking advantage of the opportunities for quiet work as they present themselves.
Well, of course, Milo eventually got up, and then there was breakfast, and then there was some other thing that came up, and it kept getting put off, and I never did do the reading that day.
Before I decide to be flexible, I should remember how far I can actually bend.